Mark Metcalf
Moving Pictures

How To Train Your Dragon

By - Mar 28th, 2010 04:00 am
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The story of How to Train Your Dragon is fairly predictable, but as my son said, “the trick is in the telling.”

There’s a slightly geeky Viking lad who is good at designing things and is considerably brighter than most of the beefed up thugs that inhabit his island world of the Norse. You have to be tough to live up north and deal with dragons, but it helps to have a smart kid around to build a machine when the rocks for throwing run out.

“Hiccup,” that’s the geeky lad, wants desperately to please his father and be a dragon killer, but of course he’s awkward and weak and bungles everything. And when he finally gets the chance he discovers that he just cannot do the deed. It isn’t that he isn’t capable, he really doesn’t want to. That’s how smart he is.  He knows he’s different and he embraces it.

He also embraces the most feared dragon of all, the Night Terror, whom he names “Toothless.” Once he is no longer shown fear or rage, Toothless becomes as affectionate as a cat. And Hiccup learns that the enemy can become the ally. A naïve attitude in what we like to call the “real” adult world, but it makes for a charming story and children( and grown-ups who still have hope for their own inner-child) will love it.

The animation is DreamWorks traditional, but the technology has come so far and the sensitivity to character has developed to a point that the expression in the faces, in the eyes — those good old windows of the soul—can register more depth of emotion and more reality than I think I have seen yet in an animated feature.

There are many, many different kinds of dragons, each with unique and often comic characteristics. And a goodly assortment of young Vikings who eventually come to respect and look up to Hiccup, even join him with the dragons to defend the island village against the biggest, baddest dragon of them all, a true monster. It is all completely enjoyable.

How to Train Your Dragon is currently showing at Marcus Theatres all over town. For tickets and showtimes, click here.

Categories: Movies

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